But the man who dares to live his life with death before his eyes, the man who receives life back bit by bit and lives as though it did not belong to him by right but has been bestowed on him as a gift, the man who has such freedom and peace of mind that he has overcome death in his thoughts–such a man believes in eternal life because it is already his, it is a present experience, and he already benefits from its peace and joy. He cannot describe this experience in words. He may not be able to conform his view with the traditional picture of it. But one thing he knows for certain: Something within us does not pass away, something goes on living and working wherever the kingdom of the spirit is present. It is already working and living within us, because in our hearts we have been able to reach life by overcoming death.
The great fault of all ethics hitherto has been that they believed themselves to have to deal only with the relations of man to man. In reality, however, the question is what is his attitude to the world and all life that comes within his reach. A man is ethical only when life, as such, is sacred to him, and that of plants and animals as that of his fellow men, and when he devotes himself helpfully to all life that is in need of help. Only the universal ethic of the feeling of responsibility in an ever-widening sphere for all that lives only that ethic can be founded in thought. The ethic of Reverence for Life, therefore, comprehends within itself everything that can be described as love, devotion, and sympathy whether in suffering, joy, or effort.
Let me give you the definition of ethics: it is good to maintain life and to further life. It is bad to damage and destroy life. And this ethic, profound and universal, has the significance of a religion. It is religion.
Topics: Evil, Ethics
The future of civilization depends on our overcoming the meaninglessness and hopelessness that characterizes the thoughts of men today.
Only those who respect the personality of others can be of real use to them.
A man can do only what he can do. But if he does that each day he can sleep at night and do it again the next day.
Topics: Action, Integrity, Contentment, Happiness, Doing Your Best, Success
Man must cease attributing his problems to his environment, and learn again to exercise his will – his personal responsibility in the realm of faith and morals.
Topics: Confidence, Responsibility, Self-reliance
The tragedy of life is what dies within a man while he still lives.
Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes the ice melt, kindness causes misunderstandings, mistrust, and hostility to evaporate.
Physical misery is great everywhere out here Africa. Are we justified in shutting our eyes and ignoring it because our European newspapers tell us nothing about it? We civilised people have been spoilt. If any one of us is ill the doctor comes at once. Is an operation necessary, the door of some hospital or other opens to us immediately. But let every one reflect on the meaning of the fact that out here millions and millions live without help or hope of it. Every day thousands and thousands endure the most terrible sufferings, though medical science could avert them. Every day there prevails in many and many a far-off hut a despair which we could banish. Will each of my readers think what the last ten years of his family history would have been if they had been passed without medical or surgical help of any sort? It is time that we should wake from slumber and face our responsibilities!
In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the human spirit.
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- Paul Tillich American Lutheran Theologian
- Albert Einstein German-born Theoretical Physicist
- Julien Offray de La Mettrie French Physician
- Pierre Teilhard de Chardin French Jesuit Scientist
- Albert Camus Algerian-born French Philosopher
- Henri Bergson French Philosopher
- Jean-Paul Sartre French Philosopher
- Voltaire French Philosopher, Author
- Tryon Edwards American Theologian
- Reinhold Niebuhr American Theologian